tv International Programming CSPAN September 14, 2009 12:00am-12:30am EDT
>> country was expecting an even neater for the war to begin. we likewise are eager for this debate to begin. such a galaxy of appropriate speakers do we have here. but first, the rules of this particular kind of debate. you will have already have voted as you came into the hall. after the six speakers have spoken, it will get the chance to vote again, to test the power of debate. you do this in your seats. you do not need to worry. it will come around to do, and you will be making your vote while the speakers are doing a summing up, and while the count takes place, each speaker will offer their final summing up, and then right at the end, we declare the result. so now, to propose the motion, tertial was more a liability than an asset to the free world, -- churchill was more a
liability than an asset. pat buchanan went on to become senior adviser to three presidents, nixon, ford, and reagan. he was twice a candidate for the republican nomination himself. he wrote foreign-policy speeches and attended summits, a company nixon to china and reagan to reykjavik. he has published 10 books, that began in. [applause] >> thank you. >> we are not here to praise mr. churchill, but to bury him. first, let me concede the greatness of the man. in 1940, winston churchill was indomitable, and inspiration to
men everywhere. he was a lion who gave the british nation its roar of defiance in the teeth of nazi germany. for that, he will be honored for ever, and by peoples everywhere. if we judged him on that year alone, there would be no debate here. there would be unanimity, for churchill's career did not last a single year. it lasted for half a century. over that have sentry, i submit, no other career of a western statesman was more calamitous for his country and civilization than that of winston spencer churchill's. more than any other british leader in 1914 and 1939, churchill lusted for war and pushed his country to turn to european wars in two world wars
so germany might be destroyed. both times, churchill succeeded , and history records that those wars that together took the lives of perhaps 100 million europeans were the moral blows that advanced the death of the west. it was winston churchill who led the west in its advance to barbarism. as first lord on the first days, he instituted a starvation blockade that violated all the rules of warfare, including those advocated by lord salisbury that brought death to 100 times as many german civilians as the belgian civilians killed by the kaiser's army in belgium. churchill's purpose was, he said himself, "start the whole population, men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound, into submission."
four months after germany laid down its arms in 1919, the starvation blockade remains in force, and churchill rose in parliament to exalt "we are enforcing the blockade with rigor, and germany is near starvation." that led to hitler. in 1920, as secretary for war, churchill, enraged by iraqi resistance, proclaimed "i am strongly in favor of using poison gas against and civilized tribes to spread a lively terra." 80 years later, saddam hussein and chemical ali were hanged for doing what churchill urged and what britain did. the day he became prime minister in 1940, as the german army was breaking through, churchill
directed his bombers not against rommel's panzers, but against rhineland city. coventry and the blitz were not see for crimes -- workednazi war crimes. the climax came in 1945 with thunderclap, the firebombing of dresden, a defenseless city of a defeated nation, packed with refugees fleeing the serial rapists of the red army. estimates of the dressed in dead range from 35,000 to 250,000. but he was a great war strategist, we were told. gallipoli was an ill-conceived drive the cost 250,000 troops.
the first board of the admiralty, winston churchill. the greatest british debacle of world war ii was norway and the marines arrive 24 hours after german troops had landed and occupied all the major ports from oslo -- 1 british historian suggest that the norway operation was run by churchill himself bletting his plans to national press at a chaise which was then picked up by german intelligence. that historian was mr. andrew roberts. what a church elder statesman? in 1921, the americans arrogantly demanded the come to washington for enable conference.
churchill urged capitulation to the americans and britain capitulated, terminated their japanese treated, and began dismantling the greatest navy in the world. it was called one of the greatest catastrophe is a british history. five years later he said do not worry, war with japan is not a possibility, which any reasonable government need take into account. churchill was prime minister and singapore fell to japan, and the empire was finished in asia. when hitler marched into the rhineland in 1936, churchill hailed the french for taking the matter to the league of nations. the ideal solution, he wrote,
would be for hitler to do the noble thing and marched back out of rhineland. unfortunately, hitler did not read that excellent column. in 1939, mr. churchill push his country to go to war for poland. britain did, and was: say? instead of losing dancing, they lost half their country -- instead of losing danzig. churchill excoriated chamberlain for appeasing hitler. his 4 year of appeasement of josef stalin may double chamberlain look-alike davy crockett at the alamo. churchill told stalin he could keep all the fruits of his devil's pact with hitler, including the baltic republics. he accede to moscow's demands for domination of eastern and central europe, in violation of the solemn pledges he gave in
the atlantic charter. when he came back from yalta in 1945, he told parliament, i know of no government that stands to its occupations were solidly than the russian and soviet government. he then gave his benediction to the most barbaric act of ethnic cleansing in history, a forced expulsion of 13 million german old men, women, and children from their ancestral homes in eastern and central europe. 2 million died in the exodus. germany was a smoldering ruin, with all the capitals of central and eastern europe, warsaw, berlin, budapest, prague, vienna, occupied by stalin's red army. britain was bankrupt and broken. the americans were going home, but there was this constellation, highly selassie was back on his throne. in churchill entered the inner cabinet, britain was the first nation on earth and ruler of the
greatest empire syndrome. when he left in 1945, britain was an island dependency of the united states. he was a great man, at the cost of his country's greatness. thank you. [applause] >> andrew roberts spent 20 years researching and writing about churchill and the second world war. his first book was a biography of lord halifax. his most recent book, ago the storm of war, a new history of the second world war." andrew roberts. [applause]
>> winston churchill was not just in assets to the free world. he was a champion. he was a champion and five major occasions. it was he who mobilized the grand fleet at the outbreak of the great war as the guns of august were being heard. he made certain the royal army was ready. in the 1930's, he warned about the threat that nazi germany opposed to western civilization. in may 1940, only being prime minister for a few days, he opposed any deal with adolf hitler, and instead, using his sublime, shakespearean oratory, he articulated the british peoples will to fight fascism.
and he did in such a way as never to underestimate the terrible sacrifices that that was going to imply. his fourth great service to the free world was to formulate the grand strategy that drew down germany into the mediterranean into north africa and to follow the strategy of attacking sicily, italy, and only when we are ready, when the situation was right, to cross the channel in june 1944 in operation overlord. then his fifth and last great contribution to the free world was in the iron curtain speech of march 1946 to warn the world of the peril that it faced from soviet communism and from joseph stalin. a peril that was being seen in
eastern europe at the time already and was going to spread into the wider world. he did not live to see that victory, but he set us on the path, and he set the moral parameters necessary for the victory we have seen in our lifetimes. it is rarely given for even one man to be able to show such service, to render such service to the free world even once in history, let alone five times. he was not just an asset to the free world. he was its exemplar, he was its paladin. we on the opposition will seek to show you tonight how had it not been for winston churchill, there might not even have been a free world. did he make mistakes? yes, you bet he did. he was in the house of commons between 1900 and 1964, nearly two-thirds of a century. the man was flesh and blood.
he made mistakes, of course he did. you have heard a few of them, and you will be hearing dozens more, i am sure this evening. but ladies and gentlemen, they are mere pebbles on the mountains of his achievements. you will hear these mistakes of his lovingly trotted out, not all of them accurately. when he was writing about poison gas in iraq, if you actually had read the entire quote in context, it is clear that he is talking about teargas, because he talks about making the eyes of the people, it is quite different from what pat buchanan is attempting to equated with. but you will hear these arguments. you'll also hear the proposition argue that hitler did not pose an existential threat to britain
and her empire. ladies and gentlemen, this is utterly false. adolf hitler hated our liberal bourgeois democracy quite as much as he hated bolshevism. had he won against russia, he would have come against us. he ripped up every single treaty he ever signed. but the historian in churchill noted and salt how you cannot allow an aggressive power to dominate the continent of europe. we did not allow philip of spain to do it. we did not only the 14th to do it. we did not allow napoleon or the kaiser to do it, and winston churchill was sure as hell not about to allow a genocidal maniac like adolf hitler to do it.
we meet in an historic hall tonight. it was the largest air raid shelter in the united kingdom during the second world war. it was the place from which general the gulf launched his free french movement during the early part of the bork. it was the place where in 1945 churchill told the british people, victory lies before us, certain, and perhaps near. ladies and gentlemen, please do not solely the fine history of this splendid hall by voting for such a gratuitously absurd notion. [applause] >> to second the motion that churchill was more a liability than an asset to the free world, just reminding you of the wording of that motion, is nigel
knight. nigel is a political scientist and economist, fellow of churchill college cambridge, a member of the economics and political faculty board of cambridge university. prior to that he taught at oxford and was an adviser and policy writer. he is the author of a good churchill, the greatest britain unmasked," and other books. nigel knight. [applause] >> i promise i am not going to solely the hall, but in respect of churchill, ostensibly the greatest britain, the great visionary, the man who could see things that the rest of us could not. well, churchill and the 1920's was chancellor of the exchequer. he reintroduced the gold
standard in 1925. this was a policy that john maynard keynes, greatest economist of his time, warned against. churchill went ahead with the policy in 1925. keene's wrote a seminal piece, the economic consequences of mr. churchill. he warned of the consequences of that policy. he warned there would be a depression. he was correct. the results of recession in the british economy through the 1920's we in this economy severely. it meant that come the 1929 wall street crash, the economy was much more severely affected than would have been the case without that policy, which of course had to be reversed in 1931, and we came off the gold standard for ever. also as chancellor of the
exchequer in the 1920's, churchill voluntarily constrained defense expenditure, at the very time when adolf hitler and the nazi party rising in germany. mussolini was in power in italy , and the prospective japanese military threats was already recognized by the british admiralty from 1924. and yet, as late as the summer of 1941, churchill was still saying that britain had no direct threat from japan. for the wilderness years in the 1930's, we remember church awarding of -- warning us of the threat of nazi germany. the economy had been immensely
weakened, given that britain was a major hegemonic power at that time. the economic consequences were not just felt in this country. the most important aspect of rearmament in the 1930's, what would enable us in 1940 in the battle of britain to do the only thing which this country could do on its own to defend these islands from invasion, to ensure that britain became the unsinkable aircraft carrier from which the second front was launched, that was accomplished to back fighters, the hurricane and a spitfire. the industry requirements for those fighters was laid down in 1934 engrams and mcdonnell's government. the two aircraft first flew in stanley baldwin's last government.
they, together with radar, were introduced into service during neville chamberlain's government. come 1940, when churchill's prime minister -- was prime minister and had responsibility for the system, church till then send them to france to prop up a collapsing french state. in a similar letter, he was told this would lead to the defeat of this country. during the battle of britain, churchill then exhorted his doubting to throw britain's fighter forces into mass air attacks with the luftwaffe.
churchill eventually said correctly correctlydowding was the architect of victory. if churchill had had his way. the next time britain had a victory was two years later. montgomery leading the eight army. churchill had wanted montgomery to throw britain's forces into a premature, ill-prepared attack. montgomery said no. montgomery ensured that all the resources necessary were hardest before the famous battle. with his meticulous planning, he ensured victory, once again, a victory that was accomplished by a great commander, standing up
to churchill and insuring that the correct strategy was introduced. churchill had a pre-world war i royal navy view of armored battleships. he did not appreciate that the capital ships of the navy had already become the aircraft carrier or the threat from the u-boat's. despite the fact that air power had dispatched much of the italian fleet, they were promptly sunk by the japanese air power who filmed it for prosperity -- austerity.
churchill had already sent a significant proportion of british armed forces out to singapore. most of whom went straight into japanese captivity without firing a shot. churchill exclaimed he did not know that singapore was so poorly defended. a brilliant historian pointed out that he did know, and had done nothing. churchill's entire military strategy in world war ii was based on the paradigm of gallipoli in world war i. pinpricks of military attacks around the periphery of hitler's fiefdom, norway, greece, sicily,
and an obsession, an attempt to launch an attack on the japanese from the northern tip of sumatra that he comes back to again again, completely opposed by the british military. you cannot win a war by this version is an. it is not possible. to win a war, you have to concentrate forces. world war ii was not one by dispersion is some. it was won by the concentration of forces east of the soviet union and the concentration by the western powers from normandy on lawrence on the western side -- from normandy on board on the western side. it did not and could not win
wars. but the failure to concentrate resulted in procrastination over the second front. churchill would have had it postponed until 1945 if the americans had not insisted that we have a second front in 1944. the delay created by this massive this person campaign cost time and lives. the last year of the war, 10 million lives were lost in the european theater, a terrible consequence for the world as well as europe. delay cost those lives. that is what churchill bit. thank you very much. [applause]
>> next up is antony beevor. his most recent book was published in june of this year. [applause] >> i never expected to hear pat buchanan backing up vladimir putin said theory that the british were responsible for world war ii. let's please concentrate on the key issues of the debate, whether or not churchill was an asset to the free world, and when was that? the free world was most at risk
during the second world war. the gold standard, all of that stuff, let's concentrate on the really important period. of course churchill made mistakes. in more, who doesn't? the main point is that churchill made most of his when he was trying to galvanize the defensive mentality of britain's moribund military establishment. he did adopt a peripheral strategy. it had been the traditional british study, because we were offshore, we were an island, we did not have the sort of forces who could engage a straightforward terms on the ground, not until the americans came into the war. we have just heard once again the facile argument that if churchill had not delayed the invasion of france, first discussed in 1942, then the allies could have